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Demand for Off-Grid Solar Electricity: Experimental Evidence from Rwanda

Listed author(s):
  • Grimm, Michael

    ()

    (University of Passau)

  • Lenz, Luciane

    ()

    (RWI)

  • Peters, Jörg

    ()

    (RWI)

  • Sievert, Maximiliane

    ()

    (RWI)

Providing electricity to the unconnected 1.1 billion people in developing countries is one of the top political priorities of the international community, yet the costs of reaching this objective are very high. The present paper examines whether the objective and the associated costs are justified by the value that target beneficiaries assign to electricity. We provide experimental evidence on the revealed willingness-to-pay (WTP) for three types of off-grid solar electricity devices. Our findings show that households are willing to dedicate a substantial part of their expenditures to electricity. In absolute terms, though, the WTP does not suffice to reach cost-covering prices. Different payment schemes, which we randomized across our sample, do not alter the WTP significantly. If universal electricity access is to be achieved, direct subsidies might be necessary. We argue that from a public policy perspective it is more rationale to promote off-grid solar than grid-based electrification because of its better cost-benefit performance.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10427.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10427.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10427
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  1. Peters, Jörg & Vance, Colin & Harsdorff, Marek, 2011. "Grid Extension in Rural Benin: Micro-Manufacturers and the Electrification Trap," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 773-783, May.
  2. Rud, Juan Pablo, 2012. "Electricity provision and industrial development: Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 352-367.
  3. Taryn Dinkelman, 2011. "The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3078-3108, December.
  4. Samad, Hussain A. & Khandk, Shahidur R. & Asaduzzaman, M. & Yunus, Mohammad, 2013. "The benefits of solar home systems :an analysis from Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6724, The World Bank.
  5. Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2015. "Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 187-205.
  6. Molly Lipscomb & A. Mushfiq Mobarak & Tania Barham, 2013. "Development Effects of Electrification: Evidence from the Topographic Placement of Hydropower Plants in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 200-231, April.
  7. Lenz, Luciane & Munyehirwe, Anicet & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2017. "Does Large-Scale Infrastructure Investment Alleviate Poverty? Impacts of Rwanda’s Electricity Access Roll-Out Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 88-110.
  8. Pascaline Dupas, 2014. "Short‐Run Subsidies and Long‐Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence From a Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 197-228, 01.
  9. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
  10. Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & William Parienté & Vincent Pons, 2012. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 68-99, November.
  11. Gregory Fischer & James Berry & Raymond Guiteras, 2012. "Eliciting and utilizing willingness to pay: evidence from field trials in Northern Ghana," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47913, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2016. "Solar off-grid markets in Africa: Recent dynamics and the role of branded products," Ruhr Economic Papers 619, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  13. Beltramo, Theresa & Blalock, Garrick & Levine, David I. & Simons, Andrew M., 2015. "The effect of marketing messages and payment over time on willingness to pay for fuel-efficient cookstoves," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 333-345.
  14. Kenneth Lee & Edward Miguel & Catherine Wolfram, 2016. "Experimental Evidence on the Demand for and Costs of Rural Electrification," NBER Working Papers 22292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45.
  16. Shahidur R. Khandker & Douglas F. Barnes & Hussain A. Samad, 2013. "Welfare Impacts of Rural Electrification: A Panel Data Analysis from Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(3), pages 659-692.
  17. Jerry Hausman, 2012. "Contingent Valuation: From Dubious to Hopeless," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 43-56, Fall.
  18. Semee Yoon & Johannes Urpelainen & Milind Kandlikar, 2016. "Willingness to Pay for Solar Lanterns: Does the Trial Period Play a Role?," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 33(3), pages 291-315, 05.
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